The most important thing to remember if you have a relative or friend living in a nursing home is to stay interested and involved in his or her life. Visit frequently. Get to know the people that are regular care givers. Be attentive to changes in behavior, habits or mood. If you think there may be a problem, talk to a supervisor or facility director. Keep a journal of any problems you encounter and the steps taken to solve the problems.
The choice between personal care and professional care can be very difficult. The time and responsibility involved with providing care yourself can be overwhelming. But the familiarity, comfort and personal interaction with someone close can be invaluable for an aging dependent. Professional care provides much more comprehensive service and won't require you to give up as much of your life. But professional care is a large financial burden and doesn't offer the same familiarity and trust between patient and caregiver.
A case manager can help you make decisions concerning what type of care is right for your financial, emotional and medical situation. The case manager is a referral service that, for an hourly fee, will help you develop a care plan. They can also manage the financial affairs of elder care, paying medical bills and insurance premiums, filing tax returns and other financial organization.
If the person in your care is in fairly good health and would feel more comfortable at home, personal care may be the right option for you. There are some support organizations available to make this task easier to handle.
Local support groups can help provide services such as home maintenance, adult day care centers, senior social centers, friend and pet visitation and meal delivery. Your employer may offer elder care benefits as a part of its total benefits package. Ask your Human Resource Manager about the availability of elder care benefits at your place of employment.
To help cope with the emotional strain home care can produce, seek a support group in your area. Often support groups can send a volunteer to give you a break from your care duties. They may also offer counseling or just someone to listen when you need to talk.
Retirement communities offer more independence than a nursing home but still provide the care needed. The downside to a retirement home is the high price tag.
Between in-home care and a nursing home, congregate care housing allows residents to live in their own home while providing home maintenance and cleaning as well as group meals. There is a staff to look after residents and make sure they are getting the care they need.